Build the Bridge

Restoring may be harder than forgiving. Forgiveness is hard enough, restoration can feel like we are inviting heartbreak all over again.

Sin always causes a great divide. Jesus came to heal the pain and bridge the divide. So when someone in our family fails and we find ourselves on different sides of a canyon, we must build a bridge.

Restore means to “to repair, to complete thoroughly, mend, perfect, perfectly joined together.” [i] If the family unit is to endure and relationships to last, we must restore each relationship. One side offers repentance the other forgiveness and the bridge between is restoration. We must seek ways to mend the relationship returning it to being perfectly joined together again.

Restoration begins once repentance is made. Encourage the family to find ways to restore the person back to their place. A person needs a way back to their original relationship, responsibility and role. We cannot demote and belittle in an effort to punish. We restore. We build bridges.

Faith, Hope and Love entwine to invite God’s ability to restore the family. When we work through our issues and find restoration we develop a stronger bond that is seasoned and refined by fire.

As parents and grandparents we are tasked with helping our young children grow in this healing process. When our kids and grandkids grow to adults it becomes harder as the wounds go deeper and the divide larger. Establish this process now. Teach them to find a way back. To build the bridge.

Pay close attention to relational cues between siblings and even parent-child relationships. Red flags include avoidance, shaming, name calling, exclusion, anger and silence. Some arguments can resolve themselves, but for the most part the process of restoration does not come naturally. It is taught and it is hands on so roll up those sleeves my friend.

Read 2 Corinthians 2:6-11, James 5:16, John 21:15-19 and pray Galatians 6:1.

Galatians 6:1

Father, “if someone [in our family] is caught in a sin,” help us to, “live by the Spirit [and] …restore that person gently.” Teach us to, “watch [ourselves], or [we] also may be tempted.”

[i] Strongs’ Exhaustive Concordance

We Forgive

Forgiveness is fascinating. Volumes of books have been written and we still do not fully understand the depth of it’s power nor breadth of it’s reach. Never underestimate the power of Forgiveness within a family.

Biblically speaking, here are the basics:

  • Forgiveness is a free gift purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ and available to any who wish to receive it by faith. Our forgiveness toward others should also be free. Romans 3:22-25
  • We receive God’s gift of forgiveness when we likewise choose to forgive others. We cannot waltz through life enjoying God’s forgiveness while exacting revenge on everyone else. Mathew 6:12-15, Mark 11:25
  • Our forgiveness has the power to set someone free to receive God’s forgiveness. Our unforgiveness blinds them to God’s gift and hinders their ability to receive it.  John 20:23
  • Unforgiveness can cause a person to drown in overwhelming heaviness. We would label this as depression/suicide.  2 Corinthians 2:7
  • We are called to forgive from our heart repeatedly without keeping a record. Matthew 18:21-35, 1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV

Forgiveness is a Kingdom law meaning it governs both spiritual and physical realms. Simply put, it either makes or breaks a family. It is so important we teach our children to forgive and be forgiven. These are not easy lessons. Teaching it can be just as hard.

Forgiveness is best learned through modeling. Verbally walk children and grandchildren through the process of forgiveness and reconciliation. Be the living example. When that moment comes:

  1. Act fast. Be there in the moment with them.
  2. Humble yourself. Get on their level, eye to eye. All distractions set aside.
  3. Honor them by saying their name.
  4. Keep it simple: I am sorry.
  5. Explain not excuse.
  6. Ask for forgiveness.
  7. Gage the answer. We do not want a response like: “It’s okay.” Because it’s not.
  8. Empower them: “I forgive you. Please do not do that again.” They learn to forgive while also setting a new standard. Empower them to forgive and be strong by setting a new course for that relationship.
  9. Make it right. Take that first step toward the new relationship. This isn’t a price, its a product of true repentance. A desire to restore what was broken.

Example: “Ruth, come here. Can you set the pony down? Look at me. Ruth, I am sorry. I lost my temper. I was frustrated at something and I took it out on you. That was not right. You did nothing wrong. I am sorry. Will you forgive me? How can I make this right? Can we spend time together?”

Read John 3:16, Matthew 18:21-35 and pray 2 Corinthians 2:7, Matthew 18:22.

2 Corinthians 2:7, Matthew 18:22

Jesus, help me to teach my family in word and action how to forgive, “not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” I pray your Spirit would lead our family to, “forgive and comfort [each other], so that… [no one would be] overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.”